Start-up Nation: With Your Back Against the Wall

If Israel is one of the world's most innovative countries, it isn't only because its people are talented
Saul Singer with a copy of "Start-Up Nation" (Photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Saul Singer with a copy of "Start-Up Nation" (Photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)


If you’re going through hell, keep going.” –Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

Many have wonder why has Israel became one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy country. The book “START-UP NATION” (by Dan Senor and Saul Singer) tries to explain it.

There are more than just one possible explanation to this amazing phenomenon, and if you’re asking yourself how remarkable this “phenomenon” is, you can read here for insights and understanding: “From Startup Nation To Scale-Up Nation, Israel Reached New Heights In 2014“, or “2014 a record year of exits for Israeli startups“.

The one explanation I think we can all take as a lesson for our own career and behavior is this one: Senor and Singer point out that Israel has no other choice but to become more innovative, to acquire more advanced knowledge and to become even more ambitious. It, literally, has no other choice.

It pushes Israel ahead, and it can push you too

Here are 2 main characteristics of living in the state of Israel:

  1. The Middle East is a tough neighborhood, and Israel’s borders are hostile.
  2. Israel has no sustainable natural resources it can count on, nor sell to other countries (even the basic resource as water).

So, it has no other choice but to know better, to work harder and to imagine and to engineer advanced solutions, that will help it to survive. You see, Israel is always with it’s back against the wall – and it is a powerful situation.

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

It was the late Steve Jobs that said those unforgettable words: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”, and, as Apple becomes first company worth over $700 billion in market value, we can rest assure that Jobs knew what he was talking about. With a severe shortage of natural resources, and neighbors you cannot ask a cup of sugar from – you are hungry, and you don’t mind of being foolish.
You just need to get alone. On your own.

This is a powerful situation…

Keep that in mind – being with your back against the wall is a powerful situation for all of us – it can strengthen our courage, our innovative abilities and to push us forward.
– Let me know what you think!

Photo Credit: Jon Rohan, Flickr CC
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About the Author
Morad Stern - Global Dev Communities Manager,, academic lecturer, Google mentor.
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